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What Is Mode in Statistics?

The mode tells you which number or thing you have the most of, the most “typical” observation. If you have a table of frequencies, the mode is the observation with the highest frequency. If you are looking at a bar chart, the mode is the category or number with the highest column. In the pie chart, the mode is the largest piece of pie (circular sector).

Example 1

You ask 10 students in your class about how much money they have, and get these amounts:

$11 $101 $2 $8 $35 $5 $48 $56 $8 $9

$11 $101 $2 $8 $35 $5 $48 $56 $8 $9

What is the mode?

The amounts sorted in ascending order are

$2 $5 $8 $8 $9 $11 $35 $48 $56 $101

$2 $5 $8 $8 $9 $11 $35 $48 $56 $101

Here you see that there is only one amount that is repeated several times, namely $8. That is, in this example, the mode is $8.

Example 2

After a test in class, the students received these grade point averages (GPAs):

0, 1, 3, 4, 3, 2, 2, 1, 4, 4, 4, 5, 2, 0, 3

0, 1, 3, 4, 3, 2, 2, 1, 4, 4, 4, 5, 2, 0, 3

What is the mode?

First you want to find how many different results there are. You count and find that there are 15 results, so 15 students took the test.

Of these, two students received the grade 0, two students received 1, three students received 2, four students received 3, and four students received 4, so there are five different results.

In this case you have two modes, namely 3 and 4.

Note that the mode does not have to be a number. It can be a garment, a dish or other things. On the bar chart you can see that one of the bars is the highest. If more columns would be equally high, they would all be the mode. In the pie chart, if one of the pieces of the pie is the largest, that category is the mode.

Example 3

Look at the pie chart below.

Pie chart of dinners

To which category does the mode belong?

The largest sector is porridge. Porridge is the category of the mode.

Example 4

Look at the bar chart below.

Bar chart of clothes

To which category does the mode belong?

The highest bar is “Sweater”. The category “Sweater” is the mode.

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